Table 9Summary of Evidence for Screening for Abuse and Neglect of Elderly and Vulnerable Adults

Number of studiesDesignLimitationsConsistencyApplicabilityOverall qualityFindings
Key Question 1. Does screening asymptomatic elderly and vulnerable adults in health care settings for current, past, or increased risk for abuse and neglect reduce exposure to abuse and neglect, physical or mental harms, or mortality?
No studiesNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevant
Key Question 2. How effective are screening techniques in identifying asymptomatic elderly and vulnerable adults with current, past, or increased risk for abuse and neglect?
1 studyDiagnostic accuracy study with cross-sectional dataModerate attrition; reference standard may not be replicable.Not relevantLow; single study of a small sample of elderly patients in Canada.PoorThe Elder Abuse Suspicion Index had sensitivity and specificity of 9–47% and 75–97%, depending on the number of positive responses to specific questions.
Key Question 4. For screen-detected elderly and vulnerable adults with current, past, or increased risk for abuse and neglect, how well do interventions reduce exposure to abuse and neglect, physical or mental harms, or mortality?
1 studyDescriptive study with retrospective dataDescriptive data with no comparisons; details of the population, detection of abuse, and interventions are unclear.Not relevantLow; single study of a small number of VA patients in Los Angeles.PoorAbused veterans were identified in primary care clinics and referred to case management; 5% were reported to Adult Protective Services and 6% required nursing home placement or conservatorship arrangements.
Key Questions 3 and 5. What are the adverse effects of screening for abuse and neglect of elderly and vulnerable adults and interventions to reduce harm from abuse and neglect?
No studiesNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevantNot relevant

From: 4, DISCUSSION

Cover of Screening Women for Intimate Partner Violence and Elderly and Vulnerable Adults for Abuse
Screening Women for Intimate Partner Violence and Elderly and Vulnerable Adults for Abuse: Systematic Review to Update the 2004 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation [Internet].
Evidence Syntheses, No. 92.
Nelson HD, Bougatsos C, Blazina I.

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